Sunday, 8th August 2010
We were up by 6am today in time for our breakfast that came with our room rate. The breakfast spread at Santika was surprisingly extensive for a 4 star property with a good selection of western and local favourites. We adored the thick banana pancakes that were made fresh by the chefs upon request. This was by far the freshest pancakes I've ever tasted which could give the McDonalds a run for their money.
As promised, Hermanto arrived at the hotel's lobby by 7.30am today ready to drive us to the temples of Borobudur in the morning and the Losari Coffee Plantations in the afternoon. Man of few words, he would respond whenever we asked him questions about the city and the tourist attractions. At other times, he prefered to concentrate on his driving which we appreciated given Yogyakarta's chaotic traffic conditions. Hermanto did helped us save on the admission costs for the Borobodur temples and advised us to steer clear from the persistent vendors within the temple compounds.
Each time, the vendors would follow us for a good 50m before deciding to give up on the useless chase. Feeling uneasy at first,
we soon took these touting at our stride by not looking, not responding to their cries. The temples of Borobudur was built some 1,200 years ago at a time when Buddhism was the primary religion in Central Java. Over the course of time, it had survived the effects of earthquakes, volcano eruptions and bomb attacks. Its status as a UNESCO World Heritage meant that admission fees were steep and overcrowding a continuing problem.
After about an hour's drive from the city, we reached the temple grounds sometime after 8.30am today. After getting our discount tickets at 125,000 rupiahs per person, we proceeded to tour the compounds on our own. Seeing the Borobudur temples from afar for the first time was magical as we were impressed by the sheer scale and magnitude of the structure. Even though we might never fully appreciate the underlying meaning behind the temples, to be able to set foot for once during our life time was certainly an enriching experience.
This was certainly one of the highlights of our trip in Yogyakarta.
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